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Building a Curly Hair Routine: For Beginners

Building a Curly Hair Routine: For Beginners

2023 March 07 | 5 mins read

If you have curly hair, you may find that it requires a bit more care and attention than other hair types. A simple curly hair routine should include products and accessories that help to nourish and enhance your natural curls. In this article we've put together some general guidelines that can help you get started. 

First off, it's important to know that there is no one-size fits all strategy for making your hair look great. Every person has different hair types, textures and patterns and so will have different needs when it comes to washing and styling. 

Keep it simple

Healthy curls are filled with volume and elasticity. Using the right hair products and techniques can be the difference between dull, dry hair or shiny, bouncy curls. The best way to start embracing your natural curls is by building a simple routine that you can do every wash day. 

Step 1 - Shampoo 

When you start paying attention to your hair care routine, your shampoo is the first place you should look. You've probably already heard a lot about how much damage sulfates can do to curly hair so what are they? Sulfates are what make shampoos super sudsy and foam up in your hands when you add water to them. They are also used as detergents to help clean dishes and clothes - so it's no surprise that they can be harsh on your head! 

Sulfates are frowned upon in the curly community as they strip away the natural oils in your hair, making it easier for product buildup to occur. This can lead to dryness, tangling and breakage.

Sulfate-free shampoos are better for curly hair because they don't strip away natural oils which ultimately leaves you hair with more moisture. A few things to note when you are transitioning from sulfate-based to sulfate-free:

  • If you're used to sudsing shampoo, you'll notice that your shampoo doesn't foam as much and you’ll need to do more of a rigorous massage on the scalp in order to get it clean. Try using a scalp massager to aid in really getting your scalp clean. 
  • It may take a while for your scalp to adjust because it has grown accustomed to the stripping effects of sulfates over time.  There may be a detox period of 2-4 weeks until your hair adjusts to the new way to wash without sulfates. Be patient and don’t go back to sulfate-based formulas during the transition - however tempting it may be! 

Deeply clarifying shampoo should be reserved for washes once or twice a month to remove build-up and is recommended if you want a fresh start in your hair care journey.

Maintenance between washes

Ditching the sulfate based shampoos means it’s time to invest in a gentle cleanser. Some curly heads can get away with a sulfate-free cleansing shampoo 2 or 3 times weekly, while others opt for a moisturizing co-wash. Both methods work to keep your hair healthy and clean. 

If you tend to have more dry and frizzy curls, adding a co-wash can help rejuvenate your curls. Co-washes are conditioner cleansers specifically made for textured hair. They can help manage oil buildup, moisturise, and detangle your hair. 

Step 2 - Condition 

Detangle your hair with conditioner while it’s wet using a wide-tooth comb or flexy brush. Don’t be afraid to pile on the conditioner at this point especially if you have a lot of tangles. Allow the conditioner to sit 2-5 minutes so that it has time to soak into your hair and hydrate them.

It’s also a good idea if you have thicker curls to consider a leave-in conditioner to add extra moisture to your hair. If you feel like you need more than a regular conditioner for your hair, try some deep conditioner on your hair weekly. Hair masks are a great way to add moisture to the hair before adding other leave-in products. It can also help you use less products in general on your curls.

Step 3 - Style 

After clarifying and cleansing, the different products you put in your hair will help lock in moisture. The right gel or mousse can keep your curls defined for days at a time. 

Choosing a styling product depends on the type of hair you have and the hairstyle you want to achieve. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a styling product:

  1. Hair type: The type of hair you have, such as straight, wavy, curly, or coily, will determine the type of styling product that will work best for your hair.

  2. Hair texture: The texture of your hair, such as fine, medium, or thick, will also affect the type of styling product you need.

  3. Hairstyle: Consider the hairstyle you want to achieve. Do you want to define curls, add volume, or create a sleek and polished look? Different styling products work better for different hairstyles.

  4. Hold: Do you want a strong hold or a more flexible hold? Some styling products, such as gels, provide a strong hold, while others, such as creams, provide a more flexible hold.

  5. Ingredients: Look for styling products that are made with high-quality ingredients and avoid products that contain harsh chemicals that can damage your hair.

Styling accessories

  1. Diffuser: A diffuser attachment for your hair dryer can help to dry your curls without causing frizz.

  2. Microfiber towel or t-shirt: A microfiber towel or t-shirt can help to gently dry your curls without causing frizz.

  3. Hair clips or scrunchies: Use hair clips or scrunchies to gently pull back sections of your hair while styling.

You'll probably need to spend a couple of wash days experimenting with different products and techniques to find what works best for your hair. Remember to be patient, and don't be afraid to try something new.

Extra Tips

  1. Avoid heat styling: Heat styling can cause damage to your curls, so try to avoid using flat irons or curling irons as much as possible. If you do use heat styling tools, make sure to use a heat protectant spray first.

  2. Protect your hair while sleeping: Use a silk or satin pillowcase or wrap your hair in a silk or satin scarf to prevent friction and breakage while you sleep.

  3. Trim your hair regularly: Regular trims can help prevent split ends and keep your curls looking healthy.


Healthy curls require a combination of good quality products, proper tools, and techniques that promote growth and minimise breakage. The journey to healthy curls take time and patience, so be consistent with your hair care routine and be gentle with your hair. 

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